ELLENSBURG - Unable to make a 9-4 lead stand up this past Saturday, the Sunnyside High School baseball team is still in search of its first Mid-Valley League victory.
The Grizzlies, yielding 12 walks and committing three errors, were overcome by Ellensburg, 11-10, in the first game of a scheduled doubleheader. Saturday's nightcap was rained out.
The disappointing loss dropped Sunnyside to 0-5 in conference play, 3-8-1 overall. The Grizzlies close out non-league play this coming Thursday at home against the visiting Hermiston Bulldogs. The second game of last Saturday's twin bill has tentatively been rescheduled for Tuesday, April 18.
In assessing Ellensburg's 11-10 come-from-behind win against his club, Sunnyside Coach Dave Martinez said "...it wasn't pretty.
"High school baseball will make you old," he quipped.
The Grizzlies, despite Ellensburg chasing Sunnyside's ace hurler - senior Joel Zakahi - midway through the third inning, were up on the Bulldogs by a 9-4 score heading into the bottom of the fifth. Ellensburg loaded the bases with no outs, however, setting up power hitter Josh Kopczynski, who floated a shot over the head of the left fielder Zakahi. He was unable to run down the lazy fly, and all three men aboard came round to score on what eventually was ruled a double. The Bulldogs went on to score three more runs in the frame to take the lead at 10-9.
Ellensburg added a run in the sixth to make it 11-9. Sunnyside charged back in the top of the seventh with a solo home run off the bat of Timmy Briones, his first of the season. Teammate Lucas Ramos then got into scoring position on a single that was misplayed by the Bulldogs, but the tying run ended up getting stranded at second.
Sunnyside came through with 11 hits in Saturday's league game, two more than the Bulldogs. The Briones brothers had the hottest of the sticks, going a combined 5-for-7. Younger brother Gibby had three singles while the senior Timmy had a third inning double to go along with his seventh inning homer. Cole Boboth added a 2-for-3 offensive effort for the Grizzlies, which included socking a triple in Sunnyside's two-run first frame.
Ellensburg's top hitter on the day was Kopczynski (2-for-5).
Zakahi avoided getting pinned with Saturday's loss, but his pitching performance was definitely his roughest of the season. Already past the mid-season point, he has just one decision on his record, albeit a win. The Bulldogs touched Zakahi for four runs in two and a third innings of work, despite only garnering two hits off him, but it was the seven walks the right-handed hurler gave up that proved to be his downfall Saturday.
Boboth took over for Zakahi on the mound with just one out in the third inning, and he ended up absorbing the loss when the Bulldogs bunched their six runs together in the bottom half of the fifth. B.J. Miller cleaned up the pitching chores for the Grizzlies, replacing Boboth late in the fifth.
S'side 2 0 3 3 1 0 1 -10 11 3
E'burg 1 0 3 0 6 1 x -11 9 3
WP-Stehle. LP-Boboth (1-2).
Zakahi, Boboth (3), Miller (5) and Marquez. Bailes, Stehle (5) and Kopczynski. Sunnyside highlights: G. Briones 3/4, T. Briones 2/3, 2B, HR (1). Ellensburg highlights: Kopczynski 2/5, 2B, 3 RBI.